HONOLULU, Hawaii – "Karen's Law", HB819HD1, passed out of the Finance Committee today at 4:36pm un-amended. All members present voted yes.
"I am so happy that we are one step closer to making Hawaii a safer place. Passing "Karen's Law" out of Finance today is a monumental gain for victim's and victims' families of violent crimes. It means we have decided to put their rights before the rights of criminal offenders." stated Representative Kymberly Pine (R-Ewa).
"Karen's Law," which was killed in the Judiciary Committee last year by Tommy Waters. HB819HD1 will be heard on the floor on Monday of this upcoming week. If passed on the House Floor, "Karen's Law" will need to go through the Senate, before being presented to the Governor. HB819HD1, introduced by Representative Pine and Representative Mizuno, would mandate that juveniles, 15-17 years of age charged with first or second degree murder, be automatically tried as an adult. "Karen's Law" would save the taxpayers' money in facing this financial deficit by cutting court proceedings down from two to one. It would also ease the burden on victim's families who are in their grieving process.
As the law currently stands, juvenile crime offenders, charged with 1st or 2nd degree murder can face two trials, one to determine which court to try them in and then another trial to decide guilt or innocence.
On May 25, 2007, Karen Ertell was brutally raped and murdered in her home in Ewa Beach. Karen Ertell was the only real mother that her foster daughter, Malanie McLellan had ever known. She described Karen Ertell as a giving, loving person who saw the best in people, and who was a vibrant woman whose life was very full. Melanie was nine months pregnant with Karen's grandson. Her senseless murder also left behind her loving partner – Kevin Callahan, her heart-broken mother and family, and hundreds of friends and business associates.